Solemn memorial for bittersweet centenary

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The annual Remembrance Day Parade in Church Square on Sunday 11 November 2018 had particular significance as one of four events in Makhanda (Grahamstown) to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1.

The Kingswood College and St Andrew’s College bands were on parade, as well as serving members of 6SAI Battalion, Fir st  City Regiment and the South African Police Service.

The moving highlight of the parade was a wreath laying Ceremony to honour the fallen. Senior and decorated officers of 6SAI, war veterans organisation the MOTHS, school principals with senior pupils and Makana Executive Mayor Nomhle Gaga were among those who honoured the fallen by laying wreaths at the foot of the Great War memorial outside the Cathedral in Church Square.

Chris Terry was the solo piper and Ben Bezuidenhout played The Last Post. The parade was the highlight of a weekend of several events commemorating the Armistice centenary.

Earlier on Sunday morning Chris Terry and the St Andrew’s Pipe Band played When the battle’s o’er on the Monument hill as part of a worldwide event to mark the centenary of the end of World War 1. The time (6am local time) was exactly 100 years after the guns fell silent.

MOTHS members and one of the parade organisers Graham Gooden said they encouraged all those who had served in the armed forces to find out more about the MOTH Order. “Makanakop Shellhole meets on the second Monday of each month in the Drill Hall, Fir st  City Regiment, and new members are always welcome,” Gooden said. For more information email g.gooden@dsgschool.com

A post on the facebook page of Dordrecht’s Anderson Museum notes that the Armistice was signed at 5am on November 11, 1918 (i.e. 6am local time), to go into effect six hours later, at 11 o’ clock, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. “On this final half day of the war, after the peace was signed, 2 738 men on both sides were killed and more than 8 000 wounded.”

The website historyonthenet describes World War One as one of the deadliest conflicts in the history of the human race, in which over 16 million people died.

“The total number of both civilian and military casualties is estimated at around 37 million people. The war killed almost 7 million civilians and 10 million military personnel.”

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